| Washington Examiner
The National Rifle Association and several other gun rights groups are suing the California and local officials in Los Angeles for forcing the closure of gun shops and ammunition dealers amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced this week that gun shops and ammunition stores have been deemed nonessential businesses and, under California's stay-at-home order, must close.
"There are hundreds of businesses which, through no fault of their own, do not fall under the governor's definition of critical infrastructure," Villanueva said this week. "As a result, I have instructed my deputies to enforce closures of businesses which have disregarded the governor's order."
The NRA shot back in a lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, alleging such closures violate the Second Amendment rights of the state's citizens. "Shuttering access to arms necessarily shutters the Constitutional right to those arms," the lawsuit states. "By forcing California’s duly licensed, essential businesses to close or eliminate key services for the general public, California authorities are foreclosing the only lawful means to buy, sell, and transfer firearms and ammunition available to typical, law-abiding Californians."
"The outbreak of the COVID-19 virus is no reasonable excuse to shutter gun shops and licensed firearms dealers," the lawsuit argues. "The circumstances posed by the Novel Coronavirus ('COVID-19') outbreak are noteworthy, but do not excuse unlawful government infringements upon freedom," the NRA said. "In fact, the importance of maintaining the ongoing activities of essential businesses for the safety, health, and welfare of Californians makes Plaintiffs’ point: the need for enhanced safety during uncertain times is precisely when Plaintiffs and their members must be able to exercise their fundamental rights to keep and bear arms."
Like in several states, California has seen a surge in gun purchases since the outbreak began. More than 100,000 people in the United States have been infected with COVID-19, and 1,500 had died of the virus as of Saturday morning.
California has the third-most cases of any state, with nearly 5,000 people reported as testing positive and more than 100 deaths.